—The Wholesome Satanist

I am not ashamed to say that I am celibate, and that I have been for over 3 years. It seems to be quite a mark of our society now, that I might feel shame in saying that.

It was something that grew in me, that I knew I needed to do after ending a toxic relationship. I hated myself so much for what I allowed to happen, on top of hating him for his nature. I lost my appetite. I turned gaunt, my hip bones poking out and my eyes sinking in. I allowed my mind to repeat and repeat and repeat like a mental patient, the worst of the worst ringing like hammer strikes. I considered shaving my head. I never physically self-harmed, but emotionally and mentally I beat myself black and blue every day. This treatment of myself went on for entirely too long.

I do not pass judgement on anyone who uses sex to deal with their problems, or who has a revolving door of partners and can’t remember their names. But sex for me is far too close to the chest. I can’t separate it from emotional attachment, nor would I ever want to. It was necessary that I take the time I needed to take in order to deal with everything I was feeling.

I turned to physical fitness to deal with my anger rage, and started listening to educational material in video and podcast form. There were so many aspects of my own experience that I had been wrong about, and it took time to come to terms with that. How many times did I make a choice that lead me right back into the cycle, when I could have said “I’m not doing this anymore”? How often did I invite the venom back into my veins? Scorpions will sting no matter what they say.

It burns to admit that you are the cause of most of your problems, and it’s so easy to avoid asking yourself difficult questions. We like to think that things happen TO us. And yes, there are times when that happens—but how common is a deus ex machina? Is the world really against you, or is it more likely that a string of bad decisions led you to where you are now? If you had been able to better control your emotions under stress, would you have reacted the same way?

I had confided in the Scorpion early on about my atheism. He acted like it didn’t bother him. But I believe this is one of the reasons he justified his actions. As social media and politics descended into a kind of hysteria, listening to voices of atheistic reason gave me so much comfort. Steadily I built up a routine; much of my spare time, a lot of it while working, was spent listening to anything useful. I made a more conscious effort to talk. I forced myself to put down the video games, leave the house and walk in a park. I spent more time with my family. I started thinking more creatively about what I wanted in my work life.

I would do yoga and attempt to meditate. Healing takes time, and conscious reflection. It is so gradual that it may not feel like you achieve any progress, but that’s because it happens under the surface. I remember clearly, a moment during guided meditation when I saw myself sitting just as I was, one palm face up on my knee and the other raised level with my face. The music was like a sandstorm, but I heard my own voice, “I am One.”

For a time I grabbed at straws, not sure what I wanted or what I could do. I made some mistakes then, and learned some surprising things about people I thought believed in me. But I was also surprised in good ways; I discovered lasting friendship in unlikely people. I learned that being genuinely interested in the pain of others can give you profound realizations about your own path. When my mind was clouded with only my own suffering, all I did was surround myself with mirrors and strike at shadows.

If you are very lucky, sometimes you meet someone who punches holes in what you thought was possible. Feeling a bit like a monkey trying to button a shirt, I would only speak if spoken to. I kept my revelations to myself. As lovely as she was, she felt awkward in a new place. She spoke first. Something about the coffee—it was bad.

It was guarded, this potential friendship; and it grew during a volcanic formation period in her life. I watched her evolve, I watched her fall and rise, several times. She found a productive outlet for her anger rage. She was brave with her heart; funny how it’s hard to tell the difference between bravery and foolishness. I guess if I was more cynical I would call it the latter. We didn’t agree on everything. Ideologically we are different moons of the same planet. Insofar as how one should live, we align in a remarkable way. Something I never expected was that I would influence her too.

Eventually I opened myself up to her, and shared with her why I was celibate for so long, even though the anxious part of my mind feared what she would think. It punched a hole for her. I don’t credit myself with much, but she changed after that. She no longer spent weekend nights prowling. Her focus became sharper, her intention clearer. Her year-long plan to join the military came to fruition, and just before she left, she met someone. It was the right person at the right time.

I have not stopped evolving. Thanks to her, I have entirely new facets of myself that I can cultivate and experience in wondrous flux. I like to think she learned something from me too. I sat down several times to write her a letter while she was at basic, and it was difficult. I couldn’t yet verbalize what I knew I should say. Many times I’ve heard the expression ‘if it can be destroyed by the truth, then it should be.’ That is not always the correct solution, I can admit; but something about the raw honesty of our experiences spurred it to make sense. She is catholic, and I knew there could be consequences to telling her the truth about my beliefs. As much as I cared for the connection we had, if this small truth broke our relationship, then I had to take that risk. I finally sent her the letter, saying at the end she didn’t have to write back. She didn’t.

This story has not fully concluded yet. I like to think that once her training is complete, we can come together as equals and meet eye to eye once more with the same depth of understanding. However it is entirely her choice; if she would rather circle the same planet but remain on the other side, I will respect that too.

One or two years ago, I would have been quite unprepared for a relationship. Since then I have done the work necessary to feel whole again, and I am as ready as I will ever be. I will eventually meet my equal, and when I do, it will be worth the wait.

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